M&S Bank to launch
This is not just any new bank... this is an M&S bank. Here's what it plans to do differently.
Marks & Spencer has announced that it is launching a bank this summer. Over 50 branches will open in M&S stores over the next two years and a current account will be launched in the autumn. Mortgages will follow at a later date.
The bank branches will be open the same hours as the shops they are in, which means they will be open on both Saturdays and Sundays.
M&S Bank is backed by HSBC, who called it “our most significant innovation… since we launched First Direct over 22 years ago.”
The first branch will open in M&S’s flagship store in London’s Marble Arch in July.
Each branch will have ATMs, a bureau de change and private meeting areas.
The launch is likely to shake up the high street banking sector and could lead to other banks opening on Sundays. At the moment, only Metro Bank branches open on Sunday.
Current M&S products
M&S already offers credit cards, insurance, loans and savings products under its M&S Money brand. These are usually fairly competitive, particularly if you're a regular M&S shopper as most of the products offer some kind of reward.
For example, the M&S credit card charges no interest on purchases for 15 months (after which it reverts to a representative APR of 15.9%) and you earn M&S points on your spending. This is only currently beaten by the NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland Your Points World MasterCard, which has an interest-free period of 18 months.
In terms of savings, its Advantage Cash ISA at 3% AER is currently beaten by the Cheshire Building Society's Direct Cash ISA at 3.35%, Santander's Direct ISA at 3.30%, Nationwide's Online ISA Issue 4 at 3.10% and the Post Office's Premier Cash ISA at 3.01%.
We will have to see how competitive its current account and mortgage offerings are, and what incentives they offer. With Tesco also planning to launch a current account, the next year is likely to see a major shift in the UK banking market.